Civic design contributes to diverse and durable neighbourhoods by relating social to spatial structures

Why don’t we start from what is there?

Why don’t we start from what is there?

As part of the territorial study LaboXX we looked at the renewal of the 20th century belt of Antwerp. We focussed on the relation between this transformation and the financial products for real estate development. We engaged with bankers, in order to understand possibilities and margins for change. Throughout a series of workshops and the production of scenario’s, we connected them to other stakeholders – policy makers, citizens, entrepreneurs, knowledge centers and investors – and came up with new strategies for financing, organizing and designing projects in existing urban contexts.

LaboXX   Tapping into existing resources

The agglomeration of Fribourg is located on the central Swiss plateau, only a 30 min train ride away from Lausanne and Geneva. In order to prepare itself for future growth, several large projects are being undertaken, such as the relocation of the cantonal hospital, a new railway station and the university. Yet because of its location the city does not only need to consider its own future, but also incorporate possible dynamics from its metropolitan neighbors.

La Ville Hospitalière   From territory to locality

The masterplan we developed encompassed the creation of the new hospital and new work and live districts alongside the highway. The city doubted wether these developments would require a covering of the highway. Our proposal advised against, and proposed to invest in a gradual programming of the territory in stead. Together with the urban design for the new hospital, a series of urban figures were proposed that could organise short-term and long-term uses on the site, such as an productive landscape corridor, accessible public nodes, and strips of mixed-use programme.

La Ville Hospitalière   Reconfigure urban form

A civic design proposal starts from the existing social dynamics of a certain neighborhoods. In Vilvoorde we contributed to the community-oriented meanwhile use project called ‘Asiat's summer’. A former military site was turned into a seedbed for social and cultural initiatives. With minimal interventions, we restructured the open spaces and a series of old warehouses to enable this appropriation. Its evident existing qualities, complemented with some insertions and pieces of furniture, allowed for a summer full of events, encounters and festivals.

ASIAT   Making place for community

What new development models do we need?

What new development models do we need?

“The area's fragmented property structure required an organizational scheme in which the landowners could develop together, across property lines. This led to the establishment of a 'land bank'. This model has the form of a company whose shareholders are the landowners. Its capital consists of the property assets. In the context of the Lageweg, return on investment will evolve gradually with the project development, while risk is cut back by the creation of legal certainty in the form of a partnership agreement, a master plan and a rezoning plan by the city.”

Lageweg   The land bank

“The area's fragmented property structure required an organizational scheme in which the landowners could develop together, across property lines. This led to the establishment of a 'land bank'. This model has the form of a company whose shareholders are the landowners. Its capital consists of the property assets. In the context of the Lageweg, return on investment will evolve gradually with the project development, while risk is cut back by the creation of legal certainty in the form of a partnership agreement, a master plan and a rezoning plan by the city.”

Lageweg   The land bank

Large spaces for production and manufacturing are scarce in Brussels. Many got transformed into residential or mixed-use districts. The Heyvaert district is home to some of the last centrally located manufacturing sites. In close partnership with the landowner of one of these sites, we developed an incremental masterplan that activates the site in the short term and safeguards it from speculative development on the long term. The approach entails an incubation programme for circular economy, scope-broadening master classes, and an urban design on long-term transformation of the site.

D’Ieteren   Return on engagement

Why wait when we can start now?

Why wait when we can start now?
‘51N4E reprogramming WTC’ by Karine Dana

“From 2017 to 2019, we set up a partnership for the temporary activation of the Brussels’ World Trade Centre. For two years, it was test-site for new types of uses in the former mono-functional office district. It introduced the possibility for new types of education, local NGO’s and offices, small-scale makers, legal advisors, etc. While fragile, these initiatives presented a different and more mixed-use future for the district.”
In North District, Next Steps?

Lab North   Incubation

“Can this meanwhile use be an act of resistance affecting the further course of urban redevelopment projects? More specifically, can it influence and inform the choices of citizens, policy makers, architects and developers in that project?”
Dieter Leyssen, in Meanwhile use as an act of resistance (Reflection)

Lab North   Platforms for discussion

The Flanders region can be characterised by an abundance of road infrastructure. Recently, the government, a call for community-organised 'demineralisation' projects was launched. We accompanied a neighbourhood in Leuven in the transformation of their street from an environment characterised by concrete to one full of green, trees and water-permeable surfaces. During car-free Sunday, the neighbours gathered on the street and pre-configured this new reality.

Redingenhof   Pre-configure new usage

What is the difference between a framework and a masterplan?

What is the difference between a framework and a masterplan?

The proposal for Thurgauerstrasse West started off with an exploration of the values behind the development of the site, strategically located between Zurich and the airport. The value framework included three notions. First, affordable opportunities, or the idea of making an environment, simple in maintenance and open for appropriation. Second, homo faber homo ludens, allowing for different life cycles and adaptability in use, and thirdly, urban density, suburban quality, the concept of mini-spaces, allowing lower investments in the private sphere and margin to invest in the collective offer.

Thurgauerstrasse   Curating a district

Instead of proposing a blueprint for coming development for dry-docks site in Antwerp, we proposed a structured ‘learning process’, that allowed to undertake projects in the short term. New practices, projects and alliances, are mapped and considered into drawn scenarios. By opening the site as of today, the testing of new program could immediately start. In this way, the dry-docks gradually becomes a destination in the urban context, while a new identity of the site is built and the required organisational structure set up.

Maritiem park   Allow for growing insight

The spatial framework for the north-east part of the Antwerp ring road laid out a series of interventions that were 'fixed' and a series that were flexible. In the first category, we proposed to restructure the spaces of infrastructural corridor was proposed, based on an improvement of the neighbouring districts by adding green spaces on both sides. Within this new structure, a range of possible interventions was proposed: a new mixed-use district, a water treatment park or a new biking bridge. These actions got integrated in a comprehensive action plan that accompanied the spatial proposal.

Over the Ring   The framework and the action plan
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